Comedian Munawar Faruqui on Saturday performed in Mumbai at a show that was facilitated by All India Professional’s Congress of Maharashtra. This was his first event after 16 cancellations in several cities because of threats from Hindutva outfits.
Over the past few months, Faruqui’s shows have been cancelled in Bengaluru, Gurugram, Raipur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Goa, and Mumbai as Hindutva groups have constantly targeted him since he was arrested in January in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city.
The comedian was arrested in Indore on the basis of a complaint about a purported joke that he had not even made. The complainant had alleged that the comedian was going to make objectionable statements about Hindu gods during the show.
In November, when Faruqui’s Bengaluru show was cancelled, he had announced that he might not perform anymore. “I think this is the end,” he had written in a post on social media. “My name is Munawar Faruqui and that’s been my time. You guys were wonderful audience. Goodbye, I’m done.”
On Sunday, the Congress in a statement said that Faruqui’s show was completed without any disturbances. In the past, police have often warned organisers of law and order problems if Faruqui’s shows took place.
Some of the comedian’s show organisers even claimed to have received threats of vandalism.
“Artists should have creative freedom as long as they abide by the constitution and respect all faiths,” the All India Professionals’ Congress said in a tweet on Sunday. “We may disagree with someone’s content but using force to impose our opinion on others is unconstitutional.”
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that freedom of expression was a fundamental right, for which the members of All Indian Professional’s Congress stand.
Faruqui will now perform in Pune on January 7 and Kolkata on January 16. Tickets for the Kolkata event have been sold out.